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Old 06-01-2004, 11:04 AM   #1
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betta acting different

I have a male betta thats just not acting right. I've had him for about 10 months now, so I think I know him pretty well. The past three days he has been laying in the same spot on the bottom of the tank. He will occationally move to another spot, but continues to lay there. He has not come up to the surface, which also means he hasnt eaten in three days. He doesnt look to be in any distress, but I know that this is not usual of him. He ate every morning for me in the past and was always so active!

Some info:
He's in a 7 gal by himself. Temp at 78 degrees. I checked the water yesterday before I did a change and these were the results:
Nitrate: 20ppm
Nitrite:0
Ammonia:.25
Hardness: 75
Alkalinity: high--300 I do use my well water from home, but I have a water softener
pH: 8.5 again, high

I'm not sure if it is a water problem, or a disease, or if he is just old and its his time. I have heard that bettas usually dont live long, however I had one in the past that lived 3 years. Any comments would be appreciated. I guess I just dont want to see him suffer if he is.

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Old 06-01-2004, 12:37 PM   #2
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For a high ph, your ammonia is too high.
In an established tank; it should always be undetectable (aka 0)

(Betta CAN live long and prosper.... I had a betta that lived 8 years and many over 5..but these were wild caughts from the 70s. But my friend has an approximate 5 year old- -he was full size cup betta and she bought him Thanksgiving 00- -in a 20 gallon community with 11 fish)

Bump up his water temp to a betta "aaah" of 80. Add an extra water change to your schedule to relieve any symptoms and give him a salt treatment (Aquarium salt) to hold off any opportunist yukkies.
if he is older, keep his temp at 80 after you discontinue a week of salt. The elderly appreciate warmth, even fish. :P
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Old 06-01-2004, 01:31 PM   #3
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I agree. Also, if something is wrong, it could be as simple as constipation. Do you vary his diet? What are you feeding him? You definately should get your ammonia to 0.
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Old 06-02-2004, 01:00 AM   #4
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Hi blueeyes,
Sorry to hear about your sick betta. I agree that the pH is too high. The ammonia at .25 is too high also. Definitely, like the others said, get your ammonia to 0. Ammonia is more toxic at higher pH values. Also bump up the temp to 80 degrees.

How long has he been in a high pH? To get the pH down, you could mix with RO water. I get mine at a machine in the grocery store. It's 39 cents a gallon; some have said they get it a little cheaper. If you do this, do it very gradually. I would try to get down to 8.2, hold it there for a day, then go down to 8, hold for a day,and then see how he's doing. If he doesn't seem stressed by the change, then try for 7.8. Mix your well water and RO and test the pH for a guideline, but remember it's going to be mixing with the existing tank water. With some careful testing, you should be able to lower it gradually. I do almost hesitate to recommend lowering the pH now, while it could stress him more, but it may perk him up too. You'll be the best judge of how fast to lower it while monitoring his other behavior.

My first betta acted like this before he died -- stayed at the bottom and didn't come up to the surface. This is not meant to scare you, and every betta is different. But this is the time to keep an extra close watch on him. To keep him comfortable, lower the water level a bit in the tank, so it's easier for him to get to the surface. I know it's a challenge to try to mess with the pH and lower the water at the same time. But I think it will make him more comfortable. One thing I didn't know when my first betta was sick was that bettas must use their labyrinth organ along with their gills to breathe. So it's very important that they can get to the surface comfortably.

I also netted my betta to feed him, one time. He acted like he couldn't see the food, so I netted him while leaving him right under the surface, and then floated the pellet in the net, and he did eat. But I don't know if I'd do this again. It may have stressed him.

Good luck to you and your betta!
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:51 PM   #5
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Well, it was too late. This morning I knew he didnt have much time left. I tried the salt and higher temp, but when I got home from work I found he had died. I feel bad. For some reason I have a hard time with the pH. Its always high with my water!!!!!! I dont know if next time I try new water (RO water) or stick with fish that I know tolerate it better. I am still learning, its just unfortunate I had to learn this way. Thanks for your help though!
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:57 PM   #6
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What is the ph in your straight tap water?

And btw, if you do use the RO water just make sure and not use nothing but RO, as it's too pure. You have to mix it with tap, or put additives in it that put nutrients back in the water. Maybe you knew that though.

Sorry to hear about your betta, it's never easy.

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Old 06-03-2004, 02:15 AM   #7
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Hi blueeyes,
Sorry about your betta He was happy with you! I still think about my first betta, and if there's anything else I could have done. We do learn and try again. Before you know it, another betta will win you over!

My pH is 8 or 8.2 out of the tap. I mix half tapwater and half RO water, or sometimes 60% RO to 40% tap. My GH and KH are ok according to the instructions in the test, so I don't add anything else to the water. The pH of the mix is 7.2 or 7.4. This topic may help, about mixing tap and RO water: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=25037
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Old 06-16-2004, 10:53 PM   #8
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Hi everyone...haven't posted here in awhile due to work schedules, and because my fish have been doing rather well.

Unfortunately, just last week, we lost three neon tetras in the 5 gallon tank, and a few days ago, lost our oldest and toughest fish, Bill the Betta.

The odd thing is that Bill was in a split tank with another betta, named George. George started acting like your betta...just sitting on the bottom, moving up to get air, then back to the bottom. He didn't eat, and one morning, I swore he was dead. When I went to get the net, he was swimming. Then, a few days later, I came home to find Bill dead. There had been no evidence that Bill was sick.

I test the water once a week in all our tanks. I will check tomorrow, but last week all levels were normal. I moved the two remaining tetras from the 5 gallon in with the other six in the 20 gallon and moved George into the 5 gallon. He seemed to perk up a little in there and actually ate for the first time. I wonder if his problem was constipation and it's resolved itself?

Could be what happened to your betta, too?
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